Embark on a journey through the beating heart of Malaga’s artistic soul—Soho Malaga. Uncover the dynamic district defined by a diverse blend of contemporary art, fashionable cafes, and cultural landmarks. From cutting-edge galleries to hidden gems, and whether you’re a seasoned art enthusiast or a curious explorer, this guide navigates you through Soho’s unique blend of history and modernity.
1. Discovering the Vibrant Soho District in Malaga
Originally a working-class area, Soho has transformed into a creative hub that embraces contemporary art and innovation. You can find the art district of Malaga near the Guadalmedina River. It’s just a short walk from the heart of the city. This area is affectionately referred to as the Barrio de las Artes by the locals. It is a place where residents and visitors alike can witness and appreciate urban and alternative artwork. It is also one of the most modernized and frequently visited areas in the city.
Soho Malaga is a harmonious blend of historic charm and modern allure. Its cobblestone streets are adorned with a diverse array of cutting-edge galleries, chic cafes, and cultural hubs. These all come together to concoct a vibrant and inspiring atmosphere. This area offers the advantage of being not too crowded compared to the city centers. The district offers an intimate feel that encourages visitors to leisurely explore it at a comfortable pace.
While roaming through the streets, you’ll sense the rhythmic pulse of artistic energy through the street art on the walls. You’ll also appreciate how local businesses shape the district’s distinctive character. It’s a place where tradition meets innovation. All these make Soho Malaga a must-visit destination for those seeking a delightful blend of history, art, and a laid-back atmosphere.
2. Soho Málaga: A Canvas of Street Art Masterpieces
Soho Málaga is renowned for its vibrant street art that stands as a living canvas of urban creativity. The district became an artistic icon through the initiative of the Malaga Arte Urbano (MAUS) by the end of the year 2000. This recognition sparked the emergence of the street art movement in the vicinity.
MAUS effectively converted the district into an expansive open-air gallery. This attracted talented artists from around the world to contribute their masterpieces to the walls of Soho. Before this initiative was implemented, the area had suffered neglect and lacked frequent visitors.
Post-project, it transformed into one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the city, earning the reputation as the cultural heart of the Costa del Sol. This transformation had a positive and significant impact on tourism and the local community. Soho Málaga now attracts tourists, not only by its cultural richness but also by the lively street art scene.
This influx of visitors has breathed new life into the local economy, with cafes, shops, and galleries benefiting from the increased foot traffic. The art movement has also fostered a sense of community pride, as residents actively participate in and welcome the evolving identity of their neighborhood. Take note that these graffiti are not just vandalism; they showcase impressive artistic quality.
Soho Málaga continues to evolve, with ongoing art projects shaping the district and influencing the city as a whole. Collaborative efforts involving artists from both local and international spheres enrich the city’s cultural fabric, transforming it into a dynamic art destination.
3. How to get to Soho Málaga
Getting to Soho Málaga is a breeze, especially considering the city’s walkable nature. You can reach the place in approximately 10 minutes on foot from the city center and the train station Maria Zambrano. Exploring this artistic enclave by walking is not only practical but also provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in the lively surroundings.
Soho is near María Zambrano Station, and you can easily walk there. After leaving the station, go southeast on Calle Mendivil. Keep walking straight and cross the Guadalmedina River. Once across, you’ll be in the Soho district. Explore the area to find your desired location.
The area’s top landmarks include Alameda Principal to the north, the Guadalmedina River to the west, and Avenida de Manuel Augustin Heredia which runs parallel to the port. Its eastern tip is marked by Plaza de la Marina. It interestingly encompasses a triangular area.
3.1. Transportation Options
For those who prefer public transportation, Malaga offers efficient bus and train services that connect the city center to Soho. For train travel, the closest station is Centro Alameda on the RENFE Cercanias line, situated next to the Rio Guadalmedina. The train travel is approximately 20 minutes and costs €1 to €3 from the Malaga airport.
Numerous local buses make stops along Alameda Principal. From the Malaga airport, bus travel takes approximately 28 minutes and costs €3. Taxi rides can be expensive costing anything between €28 and €35. Travel time is much faster at 10 minutes from the Malaga airport.
A rental or private car is a more convenient mode of transportation. Consider using covered parking facilities like those under Plaza de la Marina or at Parking Alemaña on Calle Alameda Colon since it is difficult to find street parking with pay-and-display meters.
Whether walking or taking the bus, arriving at Soho Málaga is a simple and pleasurable endeavor, ensuring that visitors have easy access to the rich tapestry of art and culture that the district has to offer.
4. Antonio Banderas and Soho Malaga
Acclaimed Hollywood actor Antonio Banderas has been instrumental in turning Soho Malaga into a dynamic center of art and culture. His deep connection to the city is evident through his significant financial investments which played a key part in the district’s development. Reports suggest that he has invested substantial funds into the district’s artistic projects, facilitating the growth of its vibrant street art scene and contributing to the revitalization of the area.
Notably, Antonio Banderas purchased a share of El Pimpi, an iconic tapas bar in the center of Malaga, thereby reinforcing his commitment to the city’s cultural legacy. This establishment, with its rich history, has become a symbol of Banderas’s dedication to preserving Malaga’s traditional charm while simultaneously fostering its artistic renaissance.
In 2017, Banderas obtained the Alameda Theatre, which was later renamed the Soho Theatre. After an area development, it can now accommodate 900 spectators. In 2018, the final play at Teatro Alameda occurred after its rebranding as the Soho Theatre. The following year, he initiated the revival of the famous theatre performer “The Chorus Line” in his newly refurbished theatre.
In July 2023, Antonio Banderas announced that he is set to direct his company’s upcoming musical, “Gypsy,” at the Caixabank Soho Theatre next year. Following his roles in and directorial work on “A Chorus Line” and “Company,” the acclaimed actor from Malaga has once again chosen a beloved Broadway musical. The “Gypsy” musical will take place in October 2024 which will mark the fourth musical produced by Teatro del Soho and Banderas.This time, he will be taking the role of director and will not be performing on stage.
5. Street Art in Soho Malaga
In Soho Malaga, street art is more than just paint on walls; it constitutes a curated collection that turns the district into an open-air museum. Collaborations of iconic figures such as Obey, D*Face, Pejac, and Manuel León have elevated the district’s walls into an outdoor gallery, showcasing a diverse tapestry of creative expressions.
From the bold graphics of Obey the author of the Barack Obama poster with the caption “HOPE,” to the thought-provoking work of renowned British street artists. Every mural contributes to the vibrant character of the district.
A mural of the renowned pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, created by D*Face, graces Calle Comandante Benítez 14. Meanwhile, his small pirate stencil art adorns Calle Casas de Campos. Adjacent to D*Face’s mural is Obey or Shepard Fairey’s vibrant wall painting featuring his iconic portrayal of wrestler André the Giant, located on Calle Casas de Campos.
On Alameda Principal 47, Faith 47, a prominent South African street artist and former partner, has left her mark with a captivating mural. Additionally, at Calle Duquesa de Parcent 12, Spanish painter Manuel Leon depicts men in green Semana Santa costumes, capturing the essence of the significant Holy Week procession in Spain.
Calle Casas de Campos boasts a large mural by Belgian street artist ROA. This showcases his signature gigantic paintings, often featuring animals like the chameleon. A meta-wall painting of a man painting a wall by Pejac can be viewed at Calle Tomás Heredia 1.
In addition to the commissioned artworks in Soho’s streets, MAUS has introduced “muros libres” (free walls) as a platform for other artists to exhibit their creations. These lively murals, funded by the city, stand as evidence of Malaga’s dedication to fostering a vibrant cultural scene.
6. Soho Art Centres
Soho Malaga houses a varied array of art and cultural centers. Streets are adorned with private galleries that display a variety of artistic styles and mediums. These spaces, often curated by passionate art connoisseurs, provide a platform for emerging talents and established artists to present their visions to the public.
Private galleries like La Canalla are located at Calle Casas de Campos. It is an art gallery at the same time a studio that offers art lessons. Within the district, you’ll find La Alameda Theatre, a cultural jewel that introduces a theatrical dimension to Soho’s artistic panorama.
Other places hosting art and cultural events include Sala Chela Mar, Sala Alameda UP, and Feel Soho Hostel. However, the paramount venue is the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo (CAC) de Malaga, which features exhibitions by internationally acclaimed artists, as well as talks, seminars, and film screenings. The center is not only a showcase for established contemporary artists but also fosters an environment that nurtures emerging talents.
One of the most appealing aspects of Soho’s cultural offering is the existence of museums that offer free entrance. These establishments encourage broader community engagement with the arts and allows both residents and visitors to explore the cultural wealth that Soho has to offer without financial constraints.
7. Soho Theatre
You can find Soho Theatre in the city center district known as Ensanche Heredia, which has evolved into the Soho Art District. Today, it bears the name Soho Caixabank Theatre, thanks to a revival led by the artist Antonio Banderas. Formerly recognized as Alameda Theatre, Antonio Banderas acquired it in 2017 through a €2 million investment.
The venue reopened in November 2019 following an extensive renovation that has expanded its capacity to accommodate up to 900 guests. Since then, it has consistently hosted theater events, primarily those that feature the renowned actor and owner in starring and directing roles.
Soho Caixabank Theatre actively participates in events such as the Spanish Film Festival. It also hosts the activities of the Cervantes and Echegaray theatres. Aside from that, it supports the educational initiatives of the drama and performing arts schools Escuela Superior de Arte Dramatico de Malaga (ESAD) and Escuela Superior de Artes Escenicas de Malaga (ESAEM).
On February 27, 2021, the 35th edition of the Premios Goya was hosted at the theatre, with Antonio Banderas and María Casado as presenters. Since its inauguration, the theatre has been a platform for performances such as “The Chorus Line.”
Ticket prices vary based on seating and featured artists, and they can be conveniently purchased online. Caixabank Soho cardholders enjoy a 10% discount on their tickets.
8. Restaurants in Soho Malaga
Soho Malaga doesn’t just captivate with its art; it’s also a haven for discerning food enthusiasts. The district features a variety of restaurants dedicated to organic and gourmet cuisine, crafting a culinary journey as vibrant and diverse as the art adorns its streets. In the heart of Soho, you’ll discover an array of restaurants offering organic options, allowing diners to savor dishes made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Ranging from farm-to-table delicacies to health-conscious menu selections, these establishments celebrate the natural flavors of the region while embodying a commitment to sustainability.
8.1. Meson Iberico
Meson Iberico restaurant is a must-visit at Calle Lorenzo 27 in Malaga. Launched by José Luis Zorrilla in April 1998, this place has become a benchmark for traditional Malagueño gastronomy. They have a wide range of products and a wine list. Highly recommended dishes include the pil-pil bacalao, anchovies, cod, the jamón, and the exquisite “king’s” cheese.
8.2. Madame Suzanne
Madame Suzanne is a bar in Soho Malaga dedicated to lovers of French cuisine and viticulture. Located at Calle Casas de Campos 31, it is the perfect place for a quiet dinner, a working breakfast, or a lunch with friends while immersing in French culture.
Oleo is a Spanish fusion restaurant that provides a contemporary terrace and understated decor, allowing you to savor the Soho atmosphere with art at your fingertips. The restaurant offers diverse ways to experience this relaxed haven, including a sushi bar, a tapas menu, main courses featuring meat and local fish, and a selection of desserts. It is situated Calle Alemania, Edificio del CAC.
8.4. Play Planet
Situated at Calle San Lorenzo, 18, Play Planet offers reasonably priced refreshments and coffee. What sets this café apart is the inclusion of board games, which allows you to enjoy your drinks in a unique and entertaining manner. With an amiable staff and prices catering to various budgets, Play Planet appeals to individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and tastes.
9. Shopping in Soho
Soho Malaga isn’t just an artistic district; it’s also a vibrant shopping destination, particularly for those seeking unique and offbeat items that resonate with the hipster culture. The region is brimming with clothing boutiques presenting a diverse selection of unique and offbeat fashion, designed to satisfy the preferences of the trendsetting crowd.
For those looking to delve into a treasure trove of distinctive finds, the “Soho Market” is a must-experience that takes place on the first Saturday of every month. This market presents a delightful blend of design, crafts, artworks, audiovisual art, antiques, and vintage items. As you stroll through the stalls, you can explore a curated collection of locally made and creatively inspired goods. Whether you’re on the lookout for unconventional fashion or unique handmade crafts, Soho Malaga provides an immersive and quirky shopping experience that aligns with the district’s artistic essence.
10. Skateboarding in Soho Malaga
Soho Malaga isn’t just a canvas for visual arts; it’s also a playground for skateboard enthusiasts seeking an exhilarating urban experience. The streets and plazas of the district form a dynamic terrain for skateboarders. This fosters a distinctive synergy between the flourishing art scene and the lively skateboarding culture.
The Guadalmedina riverbed, once dry, has been converted into a skatepark and is now an emerging popular destination for practicing skateboarding skills. The combination of historic charm and contemporary design allows skaters to hone their skills with varied terrain. This place also fosters opportunities for inventive maneuvers and a liberating sense of freedom within this urban environment
The skateboarding culture in Soho Malaga extends beyond just the physical act. It becomes a visual and rhythmic expression that blends seamlessly with the artistic vibes of the district. The rhythmic resonance of wheels on pavement integrates into the urban soundtrack creating a harmonious accompaniment to the vibrant energy of Soho.
Skateboarders in Soho Malaga play a vital role in enhancing the district’s vibrant ambiance as they introduce an element of movement and spontaneity to the already diverse environment. Whether it’s practicing tricks, cruising through the streets, or simply soaking in the urban ambiance, skateboarders in Soho Malaga become integral contributors to the district’s lively and artistic spirit.
11. FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. Is Soho Malaga safe?
Yes, Soho has a safe neighborhood that provides a family-friendly environment with various attractions. Its well-lit streets and crowded areas are safe to explore, even at night. However, it’s still advisable to take precautions with your belongings.
2. Where to go in Soho Malaga?
Some of the best places to visit in Soho Malaga are the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) Málaga, La Alameda Theatre, and local galleries that showcase unique art pieces. The monthly “Made in Soho” Market is also a great experience that offers a diverse mix. Street art enthusiasts can admire the vibrant murals throughout the district while filling their stomachs with sumptuous meals at restaurants around the area.
3. Where to eat in Soho Malaga?
There are a lot of restaurants to visit in Soho Malaga. Some of the most highly recommended spots here include the Meson Iberico restaurant, Madame Suzanne bar, Oleo fusion restaurant, and the Play Planet cafe.
4. Where is Soho in Malaga?
Soho is a district in the city of Malaga, on the southern coast of Spain. Specifically, Soho Malaga is situated near the city center, making it easily accessible for visitors. To find Soho in Malaga, you can head towards the central area of the city and explore the streets around the Contemporary Art Centre (CAC Málaga) and La Alameda Theatre.
5. How far is Soho Malaga from the beach?
Generally, parts of Soho are within walking distance of Malagueta Beach, which is one of the popular beaches in Malaga. The distance could range from a few hundred meters to around a kilometer or more.
6. Where to see street art in Malaga?
Visit Soho Malaga if you want to see street art within the city. Street art enthusiasts can also explore the ancient walls of the Alcazaba fortress. If you’re interested in a fusion of traditional and contemporary street art, explore the neighborhoods of Lagunillas and Perchel.
7. What street art is famous in Soho Malaga?
Soho Malaga boasts a renowned street art scene featuring iconic pieces such as the emotive “Lovers” mural, Shepard Fairey’s Obey Giant artwork, and thought-provoking pieces by D*Face. Additionally, Spanish artist Pejac, and local talent Manuel León, Roy Lichtenstein, Faith 47, and ROA showcased their street murals around Soho streets and buildings.
If you’re into Spanish dance and art form, we recommend checking our guide to the best places to experience Flamenco in Malaga. Alternatively, read about Picasso Museum Malaga to learn about the roots of this world-renowned artist.